President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has welcomed the arrival Thursday of the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine developed by British-Swede drugmaker AstraZeneca, and made an appeal to Filipinos to get COVID-19 shot to contain the coronavirus.
The plane carrying 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Thursday night with President Duterte, foreign dignitaries and other top government officials welcoming the delivery.
The vaccine delivery was arranged through the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility.
“I thank the [COVAX] Facility, co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi and [the] World Health Organization (WHO) alongside its partner the UNICEF, for this delivery,” President Duterte said in his address during the arrival of the vaccine at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
Following the recent vaccine delivery, the President assured the Filipino people that the government would continue working to ensure the immediate distribution of the available shots to the communities.
“On this note, I would like to appeal to all our kababayans: Please get vaccinated against COVID-19 and be the government’s partner in preventing further spread of the disease,” he said.
“I encourage you to get vaccinated at the soonest possible time. These vaccines are safe, and they are the key to reopening our society,” he added, calling on the public to continue observing and practicing health and safety protocols while waiting for more COVID-19 vaccines.
Although the country may not be out of the woods yet, it is making progress and the end is in sight, the President said, stressing that with the cooperation of the public, the country will eventually overcome the pandemic and ensure people’s safety.
At the same time, the chief executive directed all government agencies to actively institutionalize and sustain the whole-of-government approach in addressing the country’s COVID-19 situation.
The President also thanked the country’s vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), and the Department of Health (DOH) for making the recent vaccine delivery possible.
“Let me thank you to our key partners in the international community, represented by their Ambassadors tonight. Their cooperation in public health is very much needed. Positive engagement is very much welcome,” he noted.
President Duterte said in his previous pronouncements that the vaccines should be treated as a global public good, underscoring international solidarity and cooperation are paramount at this time “because no one is safe globally until everybody is safe.”
He also said that the arrival of the vaccine manufactured by the United Kingdom in partnership with Oxford University, will further boost the government’s ongoing national vaccination program.
The AstraZeneca jab was delivered a few days after the arrival of the 600,000 doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine donated by the Chinese government.
During the Department of Education event in Valenzuela City on Thursday, the President announced that China will send an additional 400,000 doses of vaccines, making its total donation one million doses. PND